The investigation against Malik Faisal Akram was closed when investigators no longer considered him a threat, the official said.
Details of what led to that British probe were not immediately available.
US authorities base their belief about Akram’s motivation on conversations with him during hostage negotiations and on audio from a live stream of the Sabbath service capturing the hostage situation, they said.
Akram had arrived in the US on a flight to New York in late December and was not on a US checklist, a US law enforcement source told DailyExpertNews. He arrived in the US legally and received clearance for his arrival, a separate source from US federal law enforcement said.
Two teenagers were arrested in south Manchester, England, in connection with the Texas incident and were awaiting questioning, the UK Counter Terrorism Police for Greater Manchester said Sunday. Akram was from Blackburn, an industrial town of 121,000 people just northwest of Manchester, British authorities said.
Researchers investigate how Akram traveled from New York to Texas.
Between January 6 and 13, Akram spent three nights at Union Gospel Mission Dallas, a homeless shelter, according to the center’s director, Bruce Butler. “We were a way station for him,” he said. “He had a plan. He was very quiet. He was in and out.’
Akram left the mission for the last time on Thursday, according to their records.
Akram’s brother said the family was “absolutely devastated” by his actions and that they “apologize wholeheartedly to all the victims,” he wrote in a statement on Facebook, adding that the family was in contact with police during the incident. Akram suffered from mental health issues, the statement said without elaborating.
Rabbi ‘overflowing with gratitude’
The enormity of the ordeal in Colleyville — being held at gunpoint for hours and making a daring but terrifying escape — is hard to handle, Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker said, but a wave of support from his community and the others around the world left him optimistic that his congregation will recover.
Saturday’s attack “could have been so much worse, and I’m overflowing, really overflowing with gratitude,” Cytron-Walker said Monday.
Members of the congregation who were taken hostage took security courses, including active shooting training, to help them through the ordeal.
The rabbi acknowledged that the trauma of the incident extends beyond those trapped in the synagogue to all members of the congregation, including some who saw it happen during a live stream of the Sabbath service.
When she saw the incident happen, Silverman was “terrified and heartbroken,” she said.
Hostages describe how they escaped
The hostage-taker sometimes screamed hysterically and occasionally spoke different languages, Silverman said.
As the hours passed, he became “more and more combative and menacing,” Cytron-Walker said.
When the gunman started screaming and community members realized they were hostages, Cohen said he quickly called 911, put the phone down and followed the hostage taker’s directions.
“But not exactly as ordered,” he said on Facebook. “Instead of going to the back of the room, I stayed in line at one of the exits.”
As the hours passed, Cohen said he slowly began to move a few chairs in front of him. “Anything to slow down or divert a bullet or shrapnel,” he said.
During the hostage situation, Cohen said they were all working to keep the gunman engaged. “As long as he was talking and somewhat calm, we bought the FBI time to position.”
One of the hostages was released unharmed around 5 p.m., Colleyville police said.
Hours later, Cytron-Walker saw its opening. “When I saw an opportunity where he wasn’t in a good position, I made sure the two gentlemen who were still with me were ready to go. The exit wasn’t too far off,” he told CBS News. “I told them to go. I threw a chair at the shooter and walked to the door, and all three of us got out without a shot being fired.’
An FBI team killed the suspect after the hostages escaped around 9 p.m.
Faith-based communities will continue to be the target of violence, federal officials warn
Akram talked about Siddiqui, the federal prisoner in Fort Worth, Cohen told DailyExpertNews.
“He wanted this woman to be released and he wanted to talk to her…he said outright that he chose this synagogue because ‘Jews rule the world. Jews control the media. Jews control the banks. I want to talk to the chief rabbi of the United States,” Cohen told DailyExpertNews on Monday.
“I wish I had a magic wand. I wish I could take all our pain and struggle away,” Cytron-Walker said during the healing service. “I know that this violation of our spiritual home has been traumatic for all of us. And not just for us. On the road ahead, this is going to be a process.”
Online forums linked to domestic violent extremists have referred to Jewish targets linked to conspiracy theories about Covid-19, the outcome of the 2020 election and “even the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and resettlement of Afghans to the United States.” according to the letter obtained by DailyExpertNews.
Nick Paton Walsh, Eliott C, McLaughlin, Travis Caldwell, Ed Lavandera, Ashley Killough and Kacey Cherry of DailyExpertNews contributed to this report.